The Reading Rock Festival 25 – 27th August 1978
This was the year punk finally arrived. The festival was now officially known as the Reading Rock Festival, having dropped “jazz” from the title and the line-up, and weekend tickets cost all of £8.95. Our old friend John Peel was compere, as always, and a van load of us descended on the riverside site, having driven part of the way down on Thursday, gone for a drink in Wetherby and slept on Wetherby racecourse (the crazy things you do when you are young 🙂 ) Highlights of the weekend for me were Penetration (I was a big fan at the time), Sham 69, The Jam, Status Quo (most of our group were heavily into them) and Patti Smith.
Friday line-up: Dennis O’Brien; The Automatics; New Hearts (who would become mods and change their name to Secret Affair); Radio Stars; Penetration; Sham 69; The Pirates; Ultravox; The Jam.
Memories: Radio Stars were always good for a laugh; “Dirty Pictures” (turn me on) was a favourite at the time; it was great to see local north east punk heroes playing up on the massive Reading stage Penetration, although they suffered from murky sound throughout their set; The Pirates rocked the place with no-nonsense rock’n’roll, “Shaking All Over” and ace guitarist the late Mick Green (a big influence on Wilko); and the John Foxx version of Ultravox! played a quite moody atmospheric electronic set. The main event was Sham 69, who were excellent with Jimmy Pursey his usual cockney “boy on the streets” self, and those anthems “What have we got?”, “Borstal Breakout” and “If the Kids are United”. The Sham Army had come across to Reading in force, all braces, No 2 cuts, and Doc Martins, and ready to take on those hippies. We were right at the front, although we soon moved to the side of the crowd when the fights started. A bunch of skins climbed on to the stage, and Pursey tried to call order, pleading with the crowd to stop fighting to no avail. He was in tears, watching bedlam and violence all around him, and not being able to do anything to stop it. But that was the nature of a Sham gig at the time. Jimmy even brought Steve Hillage on stage to show that it was ok to mix with hippies, but that just annoyed the skins more. A nasty, frightening experience, which marred an excellent performance by Sham. The Jam were great, Weller the edgy young mod, getting himself into a strop at the poor sound quality, and trashing his gear. Punk really had arrived at Reading.
The Jam set included: Mr Clean ; Away From the Numbers; Don’t Tell Them You’re Sane; Tonight at Noon; David Watts; Down in the Tube Station at Midnight; “A” Bomb in Wardour Street; News of the World
Saturday line-up: Speedometors; The Business; Jenny Darren; Next; Gruppo Sportivo; Nutz; Greg Kihn Band; Lindisfarne; Spirit; The Motors; Status Quo.
Saturday was a little more straightforward rock. Lindisfarne had recently reunited and hit the charts with “Run For Home”. The Motors were OK (Airport!). Spirit were excellent, with great Hendrix-style guitar from Randy California. Status Quo played a solid respectable set, nothing earth shattering. I know quite a few people were disappointed with them that night, but I thought they were OK. “Dirty Water’ was to become a crowd singalong favourite.
Status Quo setlist: Caroline; Roll Over Lay Down; Backwater; Rockers Rollin; Is There A Better Way; You Don’t Own Me; Hold You Back; Rockin All Over The World; Dirty Water; 4500 Times; Big Fat Mama; Don’t Waste My Time; Roadhouse Blues; Rain; Down Down; Bye Bye Johnny.
Sunday line-up: After The Fire; Chelsea; Pacific Eardrum; Bethnal; Squeeze; John Otway; The Albion Band; Paul Inder; Ian Gillan Band; Tom Robinson Band; Foreigner; Patti Smith Group.
Memories: Paul Inder is Lemmy’s son and was 11 years old (!) at the time; what a great thing to do when you are 11 🙂 ; Bethnal were a good band, who had a manic violin player; Squeeze were fun; Otway was as crazy as ever (Really Free); Tom Robinson led a mass singalong of “Glad to be Gay”; and Foreigner went down well with the crowd. But the day belonged to Patti Smith who was amazing. I was a big fan and left my mates to push my way right to the front of the crowd for Patti’s set. She had the whole crowd with her as she tore into “Gloria”, “Because the Night” and great covers of the Byrds’ “So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star)” and the Who’s “My Generation”. Stunning. I saw her again at Newcastle City Hall two days later and she was equally as electric.
Patti Smith setlist: Rock n Roll Nigger; Privilege (Set Me Free); Redondo Beach; Free Money; Ghost Dance; It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World; So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star); Ask the Angels; 25th Floor; Because the Night; Gloria, You Light Up My Life; My Generation; Godspeed
Archive for the ‘Radio Stars’ Category
The Reading Rock Festival 25 – 27th August 1978
Eddie and the Hot Rods Newcastle City Hall 1978
Support from Radio Stars Squeeze
By 1978 The Hot Rods had enjoyed chart success with Do Anything You Wanna Do, and had released their second album Life on the Line. They returned to the City Hall with another strong supporting line-up of Radio Stars and Squeeze. Radio Stars had supported the Hot Rods at the City Hall the year before, so we were already acquainted with the mad antics of Andy Ellison, and their great song Dirty Pictures. Squeeze were new to the scene and were the first band on the bill at this concert. Squeeze had just released their first album and single: Take Me I’m Yours and there was a buzz about them, but this was before the massive hits Up THe Junction and Cool For Cats, which followed in 1979. This was the original line up of Squeeze, featuring Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook, and Jools Holland. I remember making a point of getting to the gig early to see Squeeze and Radio Stars. Eddie and The Hot Rods were great as usual, super high energy rock n roll. Another fun night. The more I think back to these gigs, the more I realise how much fun we had, and how great the late 70s were. There were gigs going on most nights of the week, and some great new bands to see, all hungry for success and playing vital rock n roll. Eddie and the Hot Rods are another band who have reformed recently and are still out their playing clubs up and down the country. They are supporting Status Quo on some of the dates of their QuoFestive Christmas tour, unfortunately this doesn’t include my own local gig. I must make a point of going to see them next time I get the chance.
Eddie and the Hot Rods Newcastle City Hall 1977
Support from Radio Stars
I looked forward to this gig with great excitement. I’d read a lot about Eddie and the Hot Rods in the music papers of the time, who compared them to The Sex Pistols and other punk bands of that era. In reality, and on reflection, they were closer to the Feelgoods and R&B than punk, but at the time I went along to any gig that closely resembled punk rock. The City Hall was packed to see The Hot Rods, and everyone was looking forward to a night of high energy punk rock n roll. Support act Radio Stars warmed the crowd up with their catchy pop/punk, frontman Andy Ellison going totally crazy, climbing up the speakers, jumping from the balcony and being every bit the mad punk star. I remember the song Dirty Pictures, which was good fun, and thought Radio Stars should have been more successful than they were.
The Hot Rods live in 77 was pure energy. Singer Barrie Masters would run backwards and forwards across the stage at super speed, flanked by the guitarists who were throwing out Chuck Berry riffs at 1,000mph. The music was superfast R&B, blending pop, punk and garage; the Hot Rods were definitely a live force to be reckoned with in those days. Their set in those early days drew heavily from the first album Teenage Depression, and also included some well chosen covers, all played at breakneck speed: The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright”, Van Morrison’s “Gloria,” Bob Seger’s “Get Out of Denver,” ? Mark’s “96 Tears,” and the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction”. A good fun night guaranteed. And the Hot Rods were just that, good fun. No deep politics, no snarling or pretentiousness, just good clean, very very fast rock n roll. We all rolled out of the City Hall that night wringing with sweat, worn out and totally satisfied!